Art dealer and part time crook Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is drafted in by MI5 to investigate the whereabouts of a missing Goya painting. As Charlie is in a dire financial position, Charlie agrees to a 10% fee if the painting is found and sold, however, he is not the only one who wants to get their hands on it as some Russians also want the painting as does an American, Milton Krampf (Jeff Goldblum), and Charlie's own wife, Joanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) who wants to find the painting to sort out her and her husband's terrible finances.
Mortdecai typifies the January release movie fodder that clearly isn't going to be rousing success either financial or critically. Evidently, both these turned out to be true as the film's Box Office takings sit well below the $60,000,000 budget but at least the film has the DVD rental market to recover some of those losses.
Throughout his career Depp has always played eccentric weirdoes from Edward Scissorhands to his latest oddball character Mortdecai. Depp's comic shtick worked well in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and even lesser films like The Lone Ranger, but now it's beginning to grate, especially when his character is as insufferable as he is in Mortdecai. Having to spend just under two hours with the delusional bumblings of a mentally incapacitated nut job with the most ear grating, tea drinking, biscuit dunking, stereotypically clichéd English accent is quite arduous and it makes the whole venture into the criminal underworld of the arts a long one.
It is Depp's worst performance in a long time, but his co-stars (who are nowhere quite as immensely irritating as Depp) are hardly giving performances they'll remember with fondness, there is no real chemistry between Paltrow and Depp and Ewan McGregor's wooden performance just makes him look bored. Though, on the other hand, I did think Paul Bettany was quite good as he and Depp shared some good moments. In fact, Bettany was so good he momentarily made Depp less annoying as Depp's hammy performance is at its most annoying whenever shares the screen with anyone else other than Bettany.
However, for all the drab performances the stars were lumbered with a script that just isn't funny and neither was it gripping or exciting. The script is lacking in wit, yet there are one or two moments that raise a titter but they are so few and far between that you need three hands to count the scenes to the last funny joke. That, coupled with Depp's irksome performance, becomes the film's main downfall as it's just a tad dull but on the more positive it isn't badly made and even contains two or three nice stylish flourishes.
Mortdecai's quirky, Pink Panther vibe doesn't fully work and the film is arguably a little sexist but the main issues is the poor performance of Depp as the pratfalling Charlie Mortdecai and a script that has far too few funny jokes. Sadly, Mortdecai is a film where there is more gagging and actual gags.